With AAP on the backfoot in Punjab following recent developments, Congress is mulling the option of announcing Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh as its chief ministerial candidate in a bid to attract undecided voters.
A number of senior party leaders feel that formally announcing Amarinder as CM candidate could give a fillip to the party in the state. They feel that AAP is spending time and energy in damage-control exercise following removal of Sucha Singh Chhotepur from the post of state convener.
“Amarinder is a tall leader. He will be declared the CM candidate eventually. The sooner the better,” said Lal Singh, senior vice-president of Punjab Congress.
AICC sources told The Indian Express that ever since the Chhotepur episode unraveled, clamour within the party to get Amarinder announced the CM candidate had only got louder.
Asha Kumar, general secretary cum state affairs incharge said, “Our Congress president is unwell. We are waiting for her to get well soon before we can get the issue cleared from her.”
“The party wants to announce him the CM candidate at the right time to ensure we benefit from doing so. Hence, the leaders feel that this was the right time especially when the sting on Chhotepur has opened a can of worms for AAP. Many voters, who had decided to vote for AAP are looking for options. This was the right time to strike,” said a senior Congress leader.
The formal announcement of Amarinder as CM candidate has been hanging over the fire for quite some time. The delay has put party on the defensive quite a few times in the past, once during AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Chandigarh, and later when Congress announced former Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit as the CM candidate in Uttar Pradesh.
Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh is likely to chair the strategy meeting of Congress Legislative Party led by Charanjit Singh Channi on September 1.